The Richard Dawkins Foundation has criticized the upcoming debate between Creation Museum CEO and President Ken Ham and "The Science Guy" Bill Nye, arguing that such a debate is not worth having and that it only offers credibility to creationism.
"Scientists should not debate creationists. Period," said an article on the website of the evolutionary biologist and atheist on Thursday, in reference to the Feb. 4, 2014, debate set to take place at the Creation Museum in Kentucky. "Debating creationists offers their position credibility."
The RDF article insisted that evolution is "backed by mountains of evidence, peer-reviewed papers you could stack to the moon and an incredible scientific community consensus" and added that creationism "is a debunked mythology that is based solely in faith. It has zero peer-reviewed papers to back up its claims, it has absolutely no scientific consensus and is not even considered science due to the fact it cannot be tested."
Ham, who supports a literal interpretation of the creation account in Genesis, says the debate will "highlight the fact that so many young people are dismissing the Bible because of evolution, and even many young people who had grown up in the church decided to leave the church because they saw evolution as showing the Bible could not be trusted."
Nye, who gained popularity in the 90s with his famous TV show "The Science Guy," advocates for evolution and has spoken out against teaching creationism to children.
"If we raise a generation of students who don't believe in the process of science, who think everything that we've come to know about nature and the universe can be dismissed by a few sentences translated into English from some ancient text, you're not going to continue to innovate," Nye said in a September 2012 interview with The Associated Press.
Tickets for the debate – set to focus on the question "Is creation a viable model of origins in today's modern scientific world?" – sold out within minutes earlier in January. Ham recently announced that the debate will be streamed live for free through Google+ Hangouts and YouTube for schools, churches and other public venues.
The Dawkins foundation suggested that Nye "would do more good on his own going on TV and discussing evolution and the importance of scientific education instead of giving Ken Ham any publicity and a public forum with thousands, if not millions of viewers, to spew his dishonesty."
The article also pointed out that Nye only holds a bachelor's degree in engineering and three honorary doctorate degrees, arguing that he is unqualified to defend evolution.
Dawkins himself has explained that he refuses to debate creationists for similar reasons.
"They want to be seen on a platform with a real scientist, because that conveys the idea that here is a genuine argument between scientists," Dawkins said in an October 2013 interview. "They may not win the argument – in fact, they will not win the argument, but it makes it look like there really is an argument to be had."
Americans hold contrasting opinions about the history of humans and the evolution debate. A December 2013 Pew Research Center poll found that 60 percent of American adults believe that evolution is how the human species came to be, while 33 percent believe that humans have existed in their present form since the beginning.
About 24 percent of respondents to the poll said that they believe a "supreme being" guided the process of evolution, while 32 percent said that evolution is entirely due to natural processes.